Friday, July 8, 2016

New South Wales Government Shuts down greyhound racing

greyhound puppy
We may be seeing more companion greyhounds in the near future.

UPDATE: Since this post was written, NSW Premier Mike Baird has addressed some misconceptions about the ban, you can read more on his facebook page here.

Yesterday the New South Wales Government announced that greyhound racing would be banned in New South Wales from 1 July 2017. The reason for the ban is the systemic abuse of the welfare of the dogs and other animals, notably the issues of “wastage” of greyhounds and also the widespread practice of live baiting.

Despite revelations about live baiting, the report found that senior officials knew about the practice but did nothing to address it. The "wastage" rate was estimated to be 50-70 per cent. The report found that "important sections of the industry have little, if any, interest in the socialisation of greyhounds" - something that not only impacts their welfare during their racing careers but also their ability to be rehomed.

And in terms of veterinary care, the review found that "many trainers appear to prefer cheap and sometimes painful methods of treating greyhound injuries instead of using the services of qualified veterinary surgeons."

A ban does not, of course, immediately solve the problems it seeks to address. There are dogs currently racing, and people who are financially dependent on them. The Government has committed to ensure the welfare of dogs as the industry is wound down, and to provide assistance for those losing their jobs in the process. 

There are many questions. Will this report prompt investigation of “wastage” in other animal industries? Will NSW be followed by other states, such as the ACT

As someone who treats some of the dogs that are “rescued” from this industry (and not all are suitable for rehoming), I believe this is a very positive step for animal welfare and an impressive stance by the Government.

The full report, and details of the Government response, can be accessed here (if you want a brief summary read the "fact sheet" or you can download the major sections below (nb there are also extensive appendicies).

Be prepared for some very heavy reading – there was a huge amount of evidence looked at in this enquiry.